Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended their plan for their FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury as it looks as though the U23 side will play the game.
The Merseyside giants were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw in their fourth-round tie on Sunday evening, squandering a two-goal lead against their lower-league opposition.
In turn, that has now set up a replay at Anfield on February 4, a week in the schedule where Liverpool had planned to give the senior side a break and continue warm-weather training elsewhere.
Similarly to how they approached the League Cup last month while they were away at the FIFA Club World Cup, it now appears as though the club’s youngsters and reserves will feature in that game against Shrewsbury, with U23 boss Neil Critchley in charge.
It has sparked a heated debate since, as while some have supported Klopp’s plans, others have been more critical. Further, it seems as though the suggestion that the German tactician won’t be at the game either is a particular talking point which is splitting opinion.
However, based on his comments below, it doesn’t sound as though Klopp intends on changing his plans any time soon.
“I have to make decisions that aren’t popular based on the situation we are in. The FA tried to move games to midweek to decrease intense period,” he said, as per Sky Sports. “Whoever was involved in that, maybe from us they forgot to say no. They gave us two weeks and it was not clear which week.
“I don’t want to be in the middle of these discussions. If people think I am lazy because I am not there, I cannot change that and I’m not interested. I just feel responsible for my players. If we find a way to play it then nothing will change and we have to change it.
“I am not sure who was there in the discussions but no sporting people were there for the talks. This week is the break. Our players train [while away] just not here at Melwood.
“We had to make a decision and I have. Now it looks like people want something different. Could I be here for it? Of course but it is a misunderstanding of coaching. I cannot just show up for it within two days. They need their coach and that is Critch. We will try to win it.
“The mid-season break has to be settled for the next years. We all have to find a solution so it is not like this again. It is just not how it should be.”
It seems many believe that Klopp should in charge of whatever side Liverpool put out for the encounter, but on the basis of his latest comments as he has defended their stance, it seems as though Liverpool will risk a backlash and potential elimination from the FA Cup next month.